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The Rock Stars Who Fell in Love With Greece

Rock Stars Greece
Leonard Cohen and friends in Hydra. Public Domain

Greece was and still is a magnet for famous rock stars such as the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie,  and countless others.

The Beatles arrived incognito on their holiday to Arachova back in July 1967 and were photographed by photojournalist Aristotle Sarrigiannis with traditional musicians from the region.

Rock Stars Greece
The Beatles visit Arachova. Public Domain

Ringo Starr, later on, spent several summers cruising the Greek islands while John Lennon climbed the Acropolis in Athens.

Rock stars fall for Greece

The Rolling Stones first visited Athens in 1967 just before the coup for a gig that was canceled by the police for security reasons. Ever since, the band has visited the country only once again for a concert, but each member has separately visited some of the Greek islands.

Joni Mitchell joins hippies at Matala, Crete

Joni Mitchell found herself a nomadic home inside manmade Neolithic caves carved into the sandstone cliff at Matala in Crete. It was the 1960s, and a community of backpacking hippies had settled in Matala, a remote corner of the Mediterranean island where most locals had never seen a tourist before their arrival.

Rock Stars Greece
Joni Mitchell and Co at the Matala Caves. Public Domain

It was here that Joni Mitchell immortalized the ideal hippie scene in her 1971 song “Carey,” overlooking the unspoiled beach and azure blue waters.

Not many people know that some of the tracks on the album The Wall were written on a yacht in the Passalimani port. Pink Floyd had come for vacation in 1979 but spent most of their time composing and drinking beers at the marina.

That’s when Richard Wright met his second wife, the Greek Franca, whom he married in 1984 and lived with for ten years, most of those years spent on the island of Kefalonia. Lead guitarist David Gilmour performed a song called Castellorizon for his third solo album.

Rock Stars Greece
David Gilmour holidaying in Rhodes in the early ’80s. Public Domain

Leonard Cohen went to the island of Hydra for the first time in 1960 and was so amazed by it that he spent all his savings to buy a house there, where he spent long periods of his life until his death. He used to draw and write poetry before writing songs with the help of his guitar.

Rock Stars Greece
Leonard Cohen at his beloved Hydra. Public Domain

David Bowie‘s relationship with Greece was karmic. It wasn’t only his famous love for Cyprus, from where his first wife Angie Bowie, mother of his son, Duncan Jones, hailed. Bowie nurtured a well-hidden weakness for the island of the Revelation, Patmos, and spent many of his summers there.

Rock Stars Greece
David Bowie in Patmos. Public Domain

Australian musician and composer Nick Cave has come to Greece many times to date, proving that his style is deeply inspired by Greek cultural heritage, as he had himself admitted in the past.

Rock Stars Greece
Nick Cave (left) during his first visit to Greece in 1982 pictured with Birthday Party guitarist Rowland Howard. Public Domain

Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant has a house on the island of Rhodes, which he frequently visits in the summers.

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